Skip to main content

Reply to this post | See parent post | Go Back
View Post [edit]

Poster: jerlouvis Date: Sep 16, 2011 10:32am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Jerry/JGB/Dead

You pointed out something that isn't often recognized UJ52,the fact that he is such a fine rhythm guitarist.You hit the nail on the head on all the points you made,I just differ with you on a few as to how successful he was achieving his goals.With the gift of hindsight and understanding it (JGB) was a side project, I still have to say I'm disappointed in the song catalog,I know he played what seemed to be a wide variety,but in reality the rotation was very tight for years at a time when he would work in a few new ones here and there,it seems like nit picking but just think how much more interesting the JGB legacy would be if he did another 100 or 200 songs,and that would have been possible by learning 1 or 2 more songs per tour and doing one less How Sweet,Limbo,Midnight Moonlight,etcetera.

My main gripes with the JGB are the talent level of his band mates and how much Jerry challenged himself.I think John Kahn is a terrible musician and dragged down everything he played on.The keyboard players,I thought Keith did a fairly good job,but never seemed completely settled in to the seat,the guy I thought who took the most chances and challenged Jerry the most was Ozzie Allers,he takes the most shit for his keyboard sounds,but he could flat out play,and Melvin was painfully boring.The drummers seemed to be strictly time keepers,no reflection on their abilities,but they never stood out.
As to the question of Jerry challenging himself and playing some dynamic,on the edge guitar,I never got that from the JGB.I can't recall even one instance were I thought that was a jaw dropping,mind boggling solo,where I can point to many with the GD.This is not to say he didn't play great guitar with the JGB,but it was a very safe style,I would have loved for him to go off and get twisted.

I feel because he had the JGB,we were cheated out of other possibilities,how cool would a bass,piano and guitar trio have been,or a band with a full horn section,or any of the possibilities you could conjure,as opposed to another tour with Melvin leaning on the B-3,the backup singers yelling at you gospel style,and Jerry playing monotonous riffs on Lay Down Sally.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: unclejohn52 Date: Sep 16, 2011 2:31pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Jerry/JGB/Dead

Good to have a dialog on this jerlouvis, maybe we can kick up a few more opinions as well...

I'm certainly no expert on JGB - I only dabble there for a change of pace. I just really dig almost anything Garcia does with that guitar. For my taste, Garcia plays the most melodic solos of anyone - period. That said, I'm not looking for on-the-edge, melt your face solos every time out - just beautiful guitar music; so our criteria is different. And, since we don't know his goals for the band, it's hard to judge if he was satisfied, but he must have enjoyed it quite a bit. But, I agree that I've heard mostly the same limited set of songs as you mention, and it's possible he was playing "down" to the limits of the other musicians, ie., the known and rehearsed, well-trodden songs.

Also agree re John Kahn... and that the keyboards were a crucial element that really limited the group on some occasions. I often like Nicky Hopkins' playing, totally agree on Melvin being a snooze... but I'm not as familiar with Allers - what years was he with Jerry, so I can listen more closely? (which recordings?)

As to your last point - I can never feel cheated by what might have been. Garcia gave us so many shows to hear, so much music, millions of notes... what, about 2400 GD shows, 1400 JGB shows, Old & In the Way, Acoustic Band & Grisman shows... countless recordings. Can anyone name another performer who's given us a greater legacy or more music? But your point is taken - how cool would other possibilities have been...

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: jerlouvis Date: Sep 16, 2011 4:05pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Jerry/JGB/Dead

Yeah UJ52,like we all said it is topic that has many possible discussion points,and I was hoping different areas would be explored,so the conversation would expand,you hit on a few good ones in your posts.Ozzie Allers was in the band for about 50 odd shows between Oct 79'-Nov 80',he played about as many solos as Jerry did,and some of his synth sounds could be irritating(like Brent),but he could play,I will add that I really don't care for keyboards,but if I have to hear them at least he ripped it up some.
What I meant about the safe style of playing Jerry had was the music never just reached out and grabbed you by the brain,like the Dead had the song portion and the more jam oriented portion,the JGB only had the song portion,and I would have loved to hear Jerry on his own explore his guitar in a more free form style,but that plays into 2 points you made,his objective for the band and playing down to his band mates level.I think the JGB was meant to be a good time music band,and the ability of his band mates was not on par with Jerry's.
I didn't want to seem hyper critical,I was just trying to say from a guy who was so creative and into all different kinds of music if you look at his output from 75'-95' project wise it was the GD,JGB,a short stint in Reconstruction,and a few acoustic projects with Grisman,compare that with his 70'-75' output with the GD,New Riders,Howard Wales projects,various bands with Merl,Old and in the Way,Legion of Mary and tons of studio work,it seems that 5 year span in the 70' was as full as the last 20 years of his life.I don't like to be the what if guy,but he was just so singular that I always wanted or expected more,which is of course unreasonable.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: reviewr Date: Sep 17, 2011 9:37pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Jerry/JGB/Dead

I don't really care for John Kahn's playing either. I remember reading somewhere (Steve Parish's book?) that Jerry valued all that Kahn did behind the scenes. Kahn was the guy who introduced a lot of the band members to Jerry. Kahn put the band together and kept things moving, and Jerry just showed up and played.